The New Year

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There is nothing like a New Year to fuel ambition!… I’m coming back to this space, probably just as and when I can, but I do have a few things I’m excited to share with you!!
We are enjoying an unusually warm week this month, and boy are we soaking it in. I have the back door wide open, laundry on the line and a content six month old who is her happiest self when out in the fresh air watching the trees sway. So you see this year is starting off on a good foot (ok, so I’m cancelling out the first week of illness, I’m allowed), and whats more, close friends just had their first brand new sweet baby, and there is nothing better than knitting up something tiny and cute to send on its way.

I’ve decided its going to be a good year.

Summer Sweaters

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We are all adjusting. Actually better than I thought we would. Maybe it’s the amazingly sunny Californian summers day, or this morning’s visit from my two best knitterly friends, but it is starting to feel like we are slowly getting our groove back, and fitting into this world now as a family.

But of course it’s chaos, we’re tired, and I forget things, lots of things – one happens to be the beginning of the Summer Sweater KAL over at luvinthemommyhood. I’m no stranger to Shannon’s KALs, and in fact they are the only KALs I have ever joined in with, they’re too much fun to say no to!
However, what with my new life as Mama leaving a lot less time to knit (but I do have two FOs under my belt! more on those soon), my official ambitions for this KAL are a lot smaller than last year’s… but also because I’m going to throw in some unofficial goals.

‘Officially’ I am going to work on something for our little girl – Ruffaluffaugus by Cassandra Dominick. Not only does this pattern have the best name ever, but Cassy was awesome to offer the pattern up for free the first few days it was available. I snaffled it up, not knowing if we were to have a boy or a girl, only that it was a super cute pattern and one I would like to have stashed away. Fast forward a few weeks and I’m here, with a sweet baby girl and the unpredictable Northern Coastal CA weather. It’s all about layers. I feel like I have made our littleun wear her Puerperium Cardigan every other day, and so I was trawling through ravelry for a similar type of thing… and as it goes, the Ruffaluffagus (still love that name) popped up and to the front of the queue it went! The yarn I’m going to cast on with I am really excited about. I’m not a pink person, but I’m willing to try it out given the circumstances (you can’t avoid it, seriously, when you have a girl people give you pink things) and so when NorthboundKnitting had an update I just JUMPED at the Victorian colourway. Ok, I know, its mostly grey, but with that little bit of pink? Just scrummy.

Unofficially? Well, I went through my project basket of… projects bags. I found three sweaters. First one being the Brock Cardigan from the Spring Tops, Tanks and Tees KAL, so I really shouldn’t be counting it, but, unofficially I can do what I want right?! I have only just a few inches of the sleeves left to do, but I’m trying to work them two at a time on too short of a circular needle, and, well, I just need to get a longer needle or go back to working them one at a time. I should be wearing this cardigan right now, its so perfect for this summer weather (wasn’t that the point of the KAL?).
The second is a project I cast on a few months in to my pregnancy and I was so determined to finish before baby came… but, then, 17 inches of stockinette stitch at ~400 sts per round happened. It’s Boxy by Joji Locatelli and I still love, love this pattern. Hopefully having a bit of a break from it will keep me going until the end, before those wrinkles get really set in there!
Thirdly, the Judith Cardigan by Cecily Glowik MacDonald for my sister in law (nope, no pink for me). Yes, I’m that person that offers to knit someone something for Christmas, and then thinks about finishing it 7 months later! Yikes. The truth is that I found an error in the pattern and whilst I waited (a long time) for a response other projects jumped on the needles. I want to finish this off for her asap as she also just had a baby, a week or so before us, and I can’t wait to send this along to give her something special to cosy up in. We decided to make the cardi fully length, in the body and the sleeves, so there is a little extra brain work, but I’m just remembering how fun that lace pattern is!

So officially and unofficially I’d like to finish as much of the above as I can before the KAL deadline September 24th, but we’ll see – Mama brain, and duties, might have other plans…

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Birthday love

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As I find my way back to my knitting nook… along with baby monitors and boppy pillows… I am slowly finishing up reworking all my patterns ready for mini re-releasings this fall. As I made the decision to stop naturally dying yarn on a consistent basis I have gone back to each of my patterns and taken the time to match them with other amazing yarns. I continue to focus working with only American raised fiber, or organic, or naturally dyed yarn, and in the process I am giddy with what we have access to these days!
I am offering up a little sale this week as today it is my birthday!.. 25% off all patterns in my ravelry store … and as I re-release each pattern over the next coming months, you will automatically get the updated version to your library. Just a little something from me to you, as this new Mama enjoys a first birthday with the best gift of all! ♥

(Sale finishes end of day Friday 7/26)

Currently

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Oh there is such a buzz about the place these days. The farm is busy and bustling, keeping us on our toes, long summer days are enticing us to spend every daylight hour outside and with due date around the corner we are in that strange state of limbo knowing that baby could come any minute, or a few weeks from now. The excitement of all the above brings along this hum that has me here and there, this project and that, working hard to finish up deadlines, but also playing around with projects, just, because!

I have finished up one set of Miss Maggie’s knitted garments and find myself stalled for the moment on the sewing of the body. I had originally thought I would churn out a few sets at once, but they are taking me longer than I thought (surprised?) and there is a birthday deadline coming up fast. I really want to begin sewing her dress and pajamas (they look like pjs to me!), but having recognised that the hand sewing of the felt body is the part I am least excited about I want to get it out of the way. I haven’t sewn by hand, apart from the odd binding, in a long time and I think its just the lack of practice that is making me drag me feet.

Whilst I knit many in my first few years of becoming a knitter I can’t remember the last time I worked on knitting a toy. For some reason my practical brain would now rather knit a sweater or scarf – something that is useful, and has purpose. Mister found an antler in one of the pastures a few months back and one of the mentioned plans for it was to turn it into a mobile! Of course, it has been moved from place to place around the house, not evolving into any of the ideas we had for it, but the other day I remembered Susan B Anderson‘s book Itty-Bitty Nursery, and more specifically the pattern (!?!) that had ultimately persuaded me to purchase it. It’s funny how certain patterns will stick with you, and one day, having not thought about it for years, you will drop everything to search it out amongst the gazillion places you could have bookmarked it. And so, that particular afternoon, I did just that, dropped everything, dug out all my worsted weight cotton scraps and spent a little time on the first mouse…We will see if it amounts to anything!

On the flip side to the random cast-ons, I also find myself really wanting to finishing up projects that have hung around for too long. It’s time to de-clutter (isn’t it always!?). I have spent some time at my spinning wheel, which has also been moved from room to room the past few months as what was my ‘zone’ is slowly becoming the baby room. I don’t spend enough time spinning as I think I’d like, as I’m always surprised by how much I enjoy it when I eventually get down to it. I had begun spinning up some naturally dyed 100% Romney fiber last time I was at the wheel and wanted to finish up the rest before I move on (this has been hanging around, teasing me). So some I plyed, and the rest I left single, about 130 yds. I’m sure there is a cute little baby hat pattern out there which could use up this little amount. I love how this fiber spun up. Sure, I’m a little out of practice, but I think I like it even more for the inconsistency, and the subtle tonal changes of the coffee and rhubarb leaf pigment make for a bright and sunny skein. Baby perfect.

I have been squirreling away at finishing up some design work, and was happy to finally complete the knitting on two patterns this week – two different styles of child ballet-wrap style cardigans in sport weight. I am now looking for test knitters, so please contact me if you are interested. There will be more information in the ravelry group shortly with specifics.

In finishing those two designs, I felt like I could reward myself! Another cast on, of course! But something that I don’t have to think about. I picked up Natural Nursery Knits by Erika Knight from the library a while back, and apart from going though it once, it sat untouched until I returned it a few weeks later (like most knitting pattern books I get from the library – why I continue to take them out I don’t know). But one particular project stayed with me (I’m amazed at how yarn requirements get logged subconsciously) and I found Brown Sheep’s Cotton Fine, an undyed fingering weight cotton/merino blend, at my local yarn store which had to come home with me, just in case. This past weekend, I took the undyed and softened it slightly in a bracken dye bath, creating a neutral sandy tan colour. The photo of the skeins rather than the wip is more true to the actual colour. Nothing like freshly dyed yarn to motivate you to finish off a deadline. I went back to the library, found the book, and cast on yesterday. I’m only a few inches in, but I love the fabric this yarn is creating.

So there is a lot going on – and I haven’t even mentioned what has been happening at my sewing machine!
Of course, the challenge at the moment is to try finish it all before baby arrives! (I know, I hear you – ‘yea right!?’)

 

 

Pots of colour

DSC_0008 DSC_0010 DSC_0026 DSC_0038DSC_0032 DSC_0045DSC_0046 DSC_0053 nettle1DSC_0058DSC_0066DSC_0063 DSC_0065 Not a lot of knitting has been going on. Not only was this past week silly busy, but my current inability to sit comfortably for any length of time has pushed me in other directions. I treated myself to some dyeing yesterday, working on a project I have had mulling around in my head for a while. Have you met Miss Maggie Rabbit? You must. She has a hand sewn felt body and comes complete with a full wardrobe consisting of hand knitted and sewn garments! Alicia Paulson is one clever lady. You can purchase a kit, but I wanted to play a little more and instead ordered all the separate patterns. I found the yarn the knitting patterns require at my local yarn store, undyed, and it was with this that I was having fun yesterday. Using red cabbage, madder root, rhubarb leaves and nettles I couldn’t be happier with how each colour came out, and they cannot dry quick enough! I’m kind of planning to start a mini factory line and make up a few sets of Miss Maggie as I have a sweet handful of nieces all with birthdays coming up… but we’ll see how much time I have before baby arrives!

The felt I bought for the body is not the shade the pattern calls for but I thought it would work. Once I got it home I found to be too light for my liking. I have no idea if there is any smart way to dye felt, but I played around with some black tea and I like how this little sample came out. I doubt it is very colour fast but it’s better than the pale white so I’m going to go ahead and dye the rest… my plan for today!

So happy to be back playing with my dye pots.

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June etsy shop update

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Whilst I made the decision not to dye seasonal collections of yarn any more, I’m still playing around with my yarn and the pigments I find growing around me. It’s too much fun! In a far more relaxed way I will update the shop every so often, probably once a month-ish, sharing what I have been up to. I will make sure to let you know when these updates are happening, but you can also sign up to the newsletter to know before others do!
This morning I just posted small update – with ‘baby’ just weeks away I’m trying to keep things simple for a while -  so for those of you who had emailed me wishing they had got their hands on some yarn before I decided to stop producing seasonal collections, now is your chance!